Few black metal bands are as divisive as Tokyo's native weirdos SIGH. Sure, they're off-kilter as fuck and their albums are mixed all wrong and they're oddly commercial in an unpleasant, Cradle of Filth-y kind of way and they play saxophones and shit, but hey, this is a band that I'm 100% in favor of, always have been and (probably) always will be. I thought 2010's Scenes From Hell was fucking great (strange production be damned), and I can listen to--and enjoy--just about any release from the duration of their 20-year career (besides those Venom covers). Fucking sue me.
But I think that when people are busy arguing about whether or not Sigh has "sold out" or the merits of a chick in angel wings prancing around onstage during their performances or whatever, one cold, hard fact often gets glazed over: back in the day, Sigh was comprised of three denim-and-leather clad Bros, who, way way way before any sort of fame or recognition, were still composing some really disturbing and angular music, every bit as fucked up and compelling as their newer stuff, without any sort of interest from their immediate "scene" or "social circle".
Scorn Defeat, despite its many WTF? moments (see the horrendous guitar solo in the middle of "A Victory of Dakini" and/or the six-minute ambient/organ/piano opus "Gundali"), is Sigh's first "real" mission statement, and is a full-length debut album so full of vision, ambition, and weirdness that it's no surprise Euronymous snatched them up and signed them to Deathlike Silence so quickly.
I don't know if it's a "corny" move to post Sigh's first record, but I felt compelled to either way. This shit rules, and I still listen to it on the regular. I just wish I could have been running around in the back yard with these dudes back in 1990, fighting with medieval weapons made out of cardboard and duct tape, getting baked on whatever the Japanese version of Mexican brickweed is--just to get that glimpse into their brains, to see what sort of twisted minds it took to create something this strange (and this GOOD) in such isolation and amongst such societal constraint.
REQUIEM FOR FOOLS EP (1992)
The three-song EP that immediately preceded Scorn Defeat. Two of these jams were re-recorded for the full-length in slightly lengthier forms, while the third, "Desolation of My Mind", is an ugly, doomy ode to the screaming anguish of early Abruptum. Bad production and an overall atmosphere of murk and filth. Highly recommended!